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Teachers’ Intentions: Not Always Clear to Students

Almost 70 percent of students in 10 sections of an introductory biology course reported that the instructor provided a justification for using active learning in the course. That’s encouraging. Students need to know the rationale behind what we ask them to do in the course. Researchers looked further for justifications of active learning in the course syllabus and observed the first day of class to hear verbal explanations. They found and heard more of both as well. Faculty were also surveyed as to the reasons why they were using several specific active learning strategies; clickers, verbal questioning, and completion of written work during class meetings. They offered a variety of reasons.

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